>The Narrow Gate

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I am finding more and more that the easiest place for us to see the Lord and to hear His voice is to go where He hangs out the most. I go to the poor in spirit, to the orphans and the widows, to the oppressed. And I stop when I hear Him talking, to take notice of what He is saying. God always talks, but we don’t hear until we take notice. Many times we take notice when we minister to others. Shouldn’t we always be ministering to our spirits? I always find Him there. Jesus was always found in the low places, the intimate places., ministering to those who were so hungry for His Presence. He didn’t hang out at the “church”, although He went there quite often to teach. He hung out on the streets and in the bush, otherwise known as the highways and the byways, in the out of the way places.

In the story of the wedding feast, the king tells his servants to go invite the people to come. The servants go to the places where they think the people will be receptive to His invitation. They go to the neighborhoods, to the churches and the malls and the clubs and the ministry teams and even to the missionaries. But most are too busy with their things and their plans and their ministries. And so the King tells them to go where the people are hungry, go where the people are hearing. Go out on the highways and the byways and invite the poor in spirit, the orphans and the widows, the oppressed, those who need to be fed. Mathew 22

Isaiah 57:15 tells us, “For this is what the High and Lofty One says – He who lives forever, Whose name is Holy, ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and poor in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’ Every day my heart needs reviving, needs new life and refreshing.

I hunger to be poor in spirit. I pray that my spirit will always remain hungry and poor, that I would never get so fat and rich that I am no longer hungry. Come find me here Jesus, come find me with the poor in spirit because this is where I will see Your face and hear Your voice, this is where I will dwell, in the lowly place. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Mathew 5:3

Friday, as I sat at my desk, I heard all these children coming down the road singing. And so I jump up and run outside our gate and watch this whole procession of school children, all ages, singing and clapping. I asked what was going on and was told that the children are singing and escorting their teachers home. They do this every term I think. I jumped up and ran outside three different times this day because it was so fantastic and joyous to watch them go by. All of the workers in the compound know me by now and they are so happy when they see me running outside at the sound of children’s voices.

They know by now that this is who I am.The other day I heard this young child just bawling and blubbering and almost screaming on the road beyond our fence. Finally I could stand it no longer and I left my desk and went out and there she stood in the middle of the road, maybe 4-5 years old. And I knelt there in the middle of the road and comforted this child. I can’t speak her language but love needs no language. It is a language unto itself. I actually made someone wait to handle business with me at my desk so I could go to this little one. And do you know what? No one objected. How could they? Love must come first. It just must. I wiped her tears, talked to her soothingly, kissed her forehead, and she went on her way, crying no more. And I went back inside to looks of wonder from the compound workers, and smiles. They are not accustomed to adults stopping their work to comfort a child. I pray that Jesus would show them how much He loves them.

Can we imagine that Jesus will never, ever relent in His pursuit of us? Can we imagine being loved this much? Where He would stop what He is doing and run out into the middle of the road to kneel down and comfort us? What can we say to this? NOTHING can separate us from this kind of love. Not even a dirt road in the middle of Sudan. He will come to us.

Are we really convinced? Death, life, angels, demons, present, future, past, heights, depths… Is there something here that comes between us and the lover of our souls? Romans 8:37

No, we cannot go through the motions of life or it would be the thing that threatens to separate us from Jesus. We cannot just do “work” as usual. Jesus never does work as usual. He always stops and listens to hear us. Life cannot separate Jesus from us. It is us not turning when He calls to us or us with a glance here and a glance there, looking at the business of our lives. What thing consumes us today? We turn our eyes upon You Jesus, let us look full into Your wondrous face. Let us go to the one who is crying in the street and needs comforting.

So many times I sit here and there is such a passion inside of me and I know it is Holy Spirit whispering to me, “Don’t settle. Don’t just go through the motions of life. Give Me your all, give Me everything, all of the passion inside of you, all of your things, until you are consumed by Me and I will show you such amazing things that you have never known. You will see My face.” To be consumed only by His love for all of us. I want that to be the consummation of my life. It is here that I find I am no longer in a hurry. It is worth the wait every time. Loving God with your whole heart and all your stuff is so worth it.

There are cattle herder tribes who live here in town. They are usually loners, people the general public has nothing to do with. They are looked down on as low class. They upset people because they are not respectful of other’s property and let their cattle graze as they go by and they hog the road when motorbikes are impatient to get by, in a hurry to go nowhere actually. I notice that no one ever talks to them. You guessed it, I do. I am making friends with this one group of herders, I think they are Mundari tribe. Mostly I am befriending this one small boy who doesn’t go to school but instead, works the cattle all day, many times on his own. He looks to be maybe 12 years old. And the Lord has given me such a love for him that my heart melts inside when I see him.

Every day he comes by our compound with all his cattle, right at 5:00 pm and I am usually headed out on a run. I always stop and greet him and shake his hand with both of mine and smile big. That is all we can say to each other because of the language barrier. But we have the biggest smile for each other. Sometimes I give him guava or mangos. I also make it a point to shake the hands of the men who are sometimes with him. And they too now give me the biggest smiles in greeting. Even the cattle let me walk right down the middle of them when the locals go around! The men even now make the cattle move to let me through and they never do that for people.

People walking by use to look at me strangely at first. But now they look at me and smile and shake their heads because they see that my love is genuine. Yesterday I was inside our compound and couldn’t get out fast enough to talk to the boy because I was way in the back when I heard the cattle lowing, but I wanted to give him some candy. So I reached thru the fence and gave him a whole handful. He smiled so big. I love him so big. I have a glimpse of the Father’s heart for us.

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